season 4, episode 10, “paper hearts”
dreams are so elusive. sometimes they can be frighteningly real and other times they are so vague and fuzzy, but either way you can’t help but wonder how and why they’ve manifested in your subconscious. mulder’s mind is so open to extreme and fantastical possibilities, has it given him a latent ability to tap into the dream process? this is not a sense of deja vu. mulder dreams that there is a child’s body buried in a park. he goes to that park and finds a child’s body.
turns out the victim fits an MO of a serial killer that mulder profiled and helped put away. scully says that, subconsciously, this case has never left him due to the unresolved number of murders for which john lee roche was convicted. mulder always wanted to find the trophy cloth hearts and count them to be sure. scully, in a very non-skeptical fashion, tells mulder he solved this case in his sleep. scully quotes himself back to him, “a dream is an answer to a question we haven’t learned how to ask.” that’s a leap for her, but what mulder described as his dream and what they found in the park is irrefutable. as the investigation progresses, the validation of the clues in his dream become impossible to ignore. not even scully can deny the connections.
the act of child kidnapping, molestation, and murder is so vile and sad that this episode would be heartbreaking if left at that. the writers dig the knife even deeper by making it a possibility that one of the unidentified victims could be mulder’s sister, samantha. the clues in his dreams coupled with intimate knowledge the killer has about mulder and his family make it plausible, if not probable, that roche kidnapped and killed her. there is proof that roche sold mulder’s father a vacuum around the time of her abduction. everything, including mulder’s subconscious, is pointing to this possibility. the thought that this could be the explanation of samantha’s disappearance is horrifying. then there’s the fact that mulder’s whole identity is practically centered around his search for the proof of aliens that was spurred by his missing sister. if she was taken under completely of this world circumstances what does that mean for mulder and his ultimate crusade? at one point he asks scully if she ever thought his sister was abducted by aliens. scully doesn’t answer, but makes a sad face and then looks down. he answers for her, “no.” i don’t know if scully’s view on it is definitively “no,” but it is not “yes” and it makes her sad to not be able to tell mulder convincingly one way or the other.
no matter what she thinks, scully has mulder’s back. even though she steps aside and let’s him go off the deep end, she’s never very far from the edge. she knows he needs to go there and she’s not going to get in his way, but that won’t stop her from helping, albeit, from a distance. she’s protective of him in front of roche, she backs him up when skinner reprimands him, and tries to comfort him when he’s left with no answer at the end.
in typical “x-files” fashion mulder is forced to shoot roche before he finds out about the last heart and if it really is his sister. leaving unanswered questions is a real talent the writers have. just as unsure scully is about how to answer mulder’s question, that’s how unsure the audience is about what really happened to samantha that night. it’s as hazy as a dream.
david duchovny is excellent in this episode.
the nose on the first skull is a perfect upside down heart shape.
that kid is excited that a serial killer owned his car before. that’s a sad, yet seemingly accurate reaction.
the fact that david duchovny loves basketball makes me like him even more. i read that he did that free throw shot in one take.
the reimagining of samantha’s abduction with mulder as an adult was so well done. and absolutely chilling.
it shows how sad the story is when they find another body and it’s not samantha and they can’t even feel relief because the body is somebody, sombebody’s child.
aaahhh. he talks to that little girl on the plane. that’s so disturbing.
skinner tells scully that she let him down. it’s not her job to babysit mulder, skinner.
roche is really tall. mulder is tall and mulder is looking up at him.
scully remembers a quote from mulder that he said two years ago.
they didn’t cut to her, but i’m pretty sure mulder sinking that free throw turned her on. it certainly did it for me 😉
scully saw mulder punch roche and she lets him know it and that she doesn’t approve. however, she does not report it to skinner.
scully goes full on mama bear in the room with roche and mulder.
the waist hug/head pet scene at the end. i mean, come on.
s: “i’d hope that you’d appreciate the uniqueness of the situation and its affect on mulder.” i feel like she’s said something like this to him before.
m: “you’re in the wrong house you stupid son of a bitch!”
skinner: “a predator is on the loose because of you.” ouch, that’s harsh. rubbing salt in his wounds.